Helios on Amycus– If you had the chance to, how would you define yourself? Would you rely on your job, your background or your family, maybe? What you think, what you have done, and what you feel? Well, how would you define who you were if all of that was stolen from you? Who would you be then? Today’s centaur seeks that same answer, and he will rage at the heavens until he finds the answer.
The Astronomy– 55576 Amycus is a centaur discovered on April 8, 2002, by the NEAT at Palomar. The minor planet was named for Amycus, a male centaur in Greek mythology. Amycus has an eccentricity of 0.3987246, and an inclination to the ecliptic of 13.33584. It came to perihelion in February 2003, and data from the Spitzer Space Telescope gave a diameter of 76.3 ± 12.5 km. Amycus lies within 0.009 AU of the 3:4 resonance of Uranus and is estimated to have a long orbital half-life of about 11.1 Myr. It has a period of 126 years, 257 days.
The Myth– In Greek mythology, Amycus was a male centaur. Amycus was the son of Ophion (H– Ohhhhh boy, are we ever going to get into HIM later!). There is not much known about Amycus, but he is said to have been involved in the Centauromachy, a battle between the centaurs and the Lapith people; this battle is what the centaurs are best known for. The battle took place during the wedding of the King of the Lapithae, Pirithous, and his wife Hippodamia. Amycus’ involvement in this battle is recognized in the Metamorphoses, written by the Roman poet Ovid. In this work, it is noted that Amycus, along with many other centaurs, was invited to and attended the wedding that turned into a bloody battle. The centaurs become drunk on wine and attempted to take Hippodamia, along with other Lapith women, as they pleased. Eurytus, a centaur, could not control himself when the bride, Hippodamia, was presented; he attempted to kidnap and rape her. He inspired all the drunken centaurs to attack and violate the Lapith women. Theseus, a friend of Pirithous, stopped the centaur Eurytus, ultimately killing him resulting in the first blood of the battle. Amycus’s role in this battle is of great importance; he was responsible for the first death of one of the Lapith people. Driven by anger due to the death of the loved centaur Eurytus, Amycus smashed the head of innocent Lapith Celadon with a candlestick. Pelates from Pella clubbed him to death using a leg from a maple table, sending Amycus down to the underworld Tartarus. These were the first deaths of the battle between the centaurs and the Lapith people.
Why He Matters– Okay, so to put this guy into proper scope, we need to go back- WAY back. The Greek myths that we are most familiar with involve the Olympians, aka the dodekatheon. Before that, you have the Titanes (ruled by Kronos, usurped by Kronion [aka Zeus*] during the Titanomachy), and before THAT, you have Oruanos (deposed by Kronos), Gaea and Tartaros emerging from Chaos. But in between Oruanos and Kronos, you have this gap; Well, in the Orphic tradition, there was this other God who reigned supreme before Kronos fully asserted his rule, and his name was Ophion. Ophion was a primordial snake god, who hatched from a cosmic egg and reigned on top of a mountain. Which mountain, you ask? Take one guess: Olympos. In the fragments we have that survive from this time, it appears that Kronos challenged Ophion for dominance, much like his son Kronion would much later (and as Typhon would eventually do to him!). They wrestled on Olympos, in a tag team match involving Rhea (yes, Zeus’ mom) and Ophion’s wife Eurynome for control of the world. The Titan powerhouses ended up winning and tossing Ophion and Eurynome into Okeanos (the world ocean, who was also Kronos and Rhea’s brother) and proceeded to claim Ophion’s mountain palace and claim his dominion. Although this was all ancient history when Zeus was born, I promise that I’m going somewhere with this.
Now, as I discovered in researching this centaur, Amycus is not one of Ixion’s brood- his father is Ophion. Which means he was, at one point, son of the King of the World. You (a half-man, half horse creature) are living on your mountain home with your snake-dad and mother of indeterminate species, then one day these weird creatures come up and say they want to rule instead. They challenge your parents to a wrestling match and throw them in the ocean, and then all of a sudden you’re not a prince anymore. Well, you are, but you rule nothing and have no subjects, land or titles- but being royal, being a prince is still in your blood; it’s who you are. Therefore, I posit that Amycus is who we are once we lose everything- All the foundations that we build our lives on: when they are ripped from us, what is left?
The question of Amycus is one of identity, and that plays into his fatal flaw. As Amycus was the son of a deposed ruler, he has three real options: A.) Make his only mission in life to restore himself to the throne, B.) Live as a peasant or animal, C.) Die. Amycus seemed to choose the second option, living among Ixion’s brood without attendants or any honor, and he isn’t alone in that choice. See, the more I write this the more I realize I know a perfect example of Amycus, another Prince who lost everything except his title and who could not let it go…
Vegeta, Prince of all Saiyans**! His story mirrors Amycus’ quite a bit- he was raised royal and spoiled on the planet bearing his and his father’s name, and then one day his planet and people are wiped out by an evil galactic tyrant, bringing his entire race down to 5 (all 5 of them being men. Yikes.) To survive, Prince Vegeta pledges his loyalty to the tyrant and serves in his army, allowing him and three of the remaining Saiyans to live and express their violent and destructive tendencies. This is the darker side of Amycus, delighting in the suffering of others. See, for some reason, Vegeta is given near-autonomy to wreak havoc and destruction on the galaxy, as long as the tyrant, Frieza is in charge- which suits Vegeta just fine, as he can just leave when the jackboot starts to chafe. Vegeta is truly evil and sadistic, thinking only of his own brutal pleasure while he conquers and kills, and each time imagining he was exacting his vengeance on Frieza- That is until he comes to Earth. The proud prince gets better than he can give out, and this convolutedly leads to the tyrant getting more or less killed, and letting Vegeta live a free life, building a family and releasing his anger, more or less. Sure he goes evil once and kills a bunch of people, but he then sacrifices himself to stop the evil that he more or less helped bring about, so…. It’s complicated. Watch Dragonball Z and Super, if you don’t already know it. It was foundational to my development, and as a very angry edgelord teenager, I related to Vegeta HARD. Plus he had the best lines.
Amycus in the chart rips away all that we try to cling to, and shows us who we really are, for better or for worse. We can either accept the new paradigm and try to cope, or lash out at everything around us, griping about the unfairness of it all. Amycus is an inability to accept change, a resistance to forward motion- but if we look past our hatred and need for vengeance disguised as justice, we can find true happiness. Until we can do that, we act out the worst parts of our nature, hurting the innocent bystanders in our life.
To find out where he shows up in your chart, go to astro.com, put in your birth details and in the extended options, all the way at the bottom of the next page, there will be a menu of additional objects. Under that is a blank space where you can enter the number 55576, for Amycus. Once you have it entered, generate the chart! Where does Amycus affect your life? Let us know in the comments below!
*which literally just means God. Its a title, not a name. Zeus is problematic. But we’ll talk more about him later.
**at last count 3 and a half